Hello, hi, good afternoon. If you're reading this - consider it proof of the afterlife. Because last night, I died and went to heaven/nirvana/the best restaurant experience I've had in ages. Enter: Zahav.
Netsled in Philly's charming Old City neighborhood (read: where the Liberty Bell is, for all non-locals) Zahav serves contemporary Israeli cuisine, uniquely delicious cocktails, and just generally some of the greatest food in the whole city. After braving the cobblestone streets, walking up the steps, and crossing the threshold indoors, the vibe resembles a cross between a middle eastern bazaar, and an industrial loft. They also were bumping throwback Jay-Z jams intermixed with classic 90's R&B throughout the evening. Which somehow, just worked. Observe:
Now, it is still Restaurant Week here, but I was accompanied by a dear Chef friend of mine, so there was no way we were ordering off of any Prix Fixe menu. Chef's Tasting menu it was. And about 12 courses (and 4 cocktails later) I pulled myself from a food coma to write this post to share with y'all.
A delicious assortment of various pickled vegetables, spreads, tapenade, the greatest hummus I've ever eaten, and smoking hot laffa, straight out of their wood burning oven. Shout out to my cocktail here - the Z&T (Zahav's potent spin on the classic gin and tonic.)
Arguably the greatest thing I consumed all evening (nay, all year, so far) - the delicious grilled haloumi atop a bed of apples, walnuts and dates. Honestly I could eat this three meals a day for the remainder of 2016 and be satisfied.
There were about 6 other courses between the grilled haloumi and this, but I'll spare you. But would you look at this? The largest steak I have seen with my own two eyes. Ever. Charred above an open coal stove (we peeked in the kitchen to see what was going on back there) it had the most phenomenal rich, smoky, intense flavor. I was nearly defeated at this point.
...But how could I throw in the towel before dessert? A marvelous selection of tartes, mousses and sorbets. And french press coffee, served with an adorable mini hourglass to remind you when to press. I thought it was a nice touch.
Chef Michael Solomonov struck gold here. From the loud and playful soundtrack, to the beautifully designed industrial-meets-pastoral interior, to the endless courses of middle eastern delights, and oh God, the haloumi, Zahav is a hit. I recommend it highly if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood, and can score a reservation. (Rumor has it they are booked through March.) Let's hope I can come back before then. 10/10